Over the last decade, the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) has appeared in schools, stores, airports, and medical centers across the country. Based on the idea that the majority of sudden cardiac arrest is denoted by a condition called ventricular fibrillation, these machines are designed to administer a targeted electrical shock to the heart to help it regain its normal rhythm. While it makes sense to have these devices in areas where large numbers of people congregate, the reason for having one in the workplace may not be as apparent.
Heart Disease Accounts for 1 in 4 Deaths in the US
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Accounting for 1 in 4 deaths, more than 610,000 people die each year of the condition. What’s more shocking is that many people who have heart disease do not know about it. Whether they are asymptomatic or ignore early warning signs, it is possible for seemingly healthy people to experience sudden cardiac arrest. With 47 percent of sudden cardiac arrest happening outside of the hospital, the likelihood that someone will have a heart attack without emergency medical personnel around is astonishingly high.
The Death Rate for Sudden Cardiac Arrest is High
Of those that experience sudden cardiac arrest, 9 out of 10 people will die while waiting for emergency medical personnel. More surprisingly, sudden cardiac arrest kills more people than many of the next leading causes of death, combined. However, this number is significantly decreased if the person is given CPR and defibrillation while waiting for an emergency response. If these lifesaving measures can begin before EMS arrives, 40 percent of patients experiencing a cardiac event will survive.
AEDs are Designed for Non-Medical Bystanders
As dangerous as it sounds to shock someone’s heart while they are experiencing a heart attack, some AEDs are designed for bystanders who do not have medical training. While training on the use of the device is helpful for all members of a workplace, AEDs that are typically found in the workplace are equipped with failsafe instructions and monitoring systems. Once it is turned on and the electrodes are placed on the victim’s chest, the AED will monitor the heart rate of the victim before telling the bystander when to administer the electric shock. It will then give notifications on if the process worked, or if the person needs to have additional care. While AEDs increase the chances of survival for a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, they are not a replacement for emergency personnel. As always, it is important to call 9-1-1 first before removing the AED from its case.
Among the pieces of medical technology that is available to non-medical personnel, the AED is one that can make the most difference in a victim’s life. Inciting prompt and decisive action, having an AED in the workplace insulates employees from potentially life-threatening medical emergencies. To purchase your office AED, visit Foremost Medical Equipment.
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